Science & Environment

The Salt
1:45 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Food Psychology: How To Trick Your Palate Into A Tastier Meal

Environmental cues — like the color, size and shape of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room — can alter how we experience food and drink. For example, research suggests that serving food on a red plate tends to reduce the amount diners eat.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

What makes the perfect meal?

Most of us might envision a specific dish, or a certain ingredient — a fine steak cooked medium-rare, grandma's chicken curry or mom's hearty ratatouille.

Charles Spence thinks about the food, for sure. But he also thinks about everything else: the color and size of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room.

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Shots - Health News
3:28 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Potent Powdered Caffeine Raises Safety Worries

One teaspoon of pure caffeine powder delivers about the same jolt as 25 cups of coffee.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 7:32 am

Wade Sweatt thought he had found a healthier way to get himself going in the morning. Instead of getting his daily jolt of caffeine from a cup of coffee or a Coke, Sweatt decided last summer to try mixing some powdered caffeine he'd bought via the Internet with some water or milk.

"Wade was very health-conscious, a very healthy person," says Sweatt's father, James. "His idea was, this was healthier than getting all the sugar and the sodium and ... artificial sweeteners from drinking Coca-Colas and diet Cokes."

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Space
4:20 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Scientists Bring The Sun Down To Earth To Learn How It Works

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:30 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
4:20 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

2014 Brought Lasting Action On Climate Change Policy

Water vapor, which looks like smoke, is seen rising from a power plant near Hengshui in China's Hebei province. In November, President Obama announced a landmark carbon-cutting deal with China — the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases. And the Chinese government has announced plans to cap the use of coal within five years.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:30 am

Some of the stories that gripped our attention in 2014 will probably be forgotten in a few years — if not a few weeks. But there's one story that President Obama argues we'll be living with for decades to come.

"There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate," he said in September, addressing the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

Even as Obama struggled with other big challenges this year, climate was one area where he managed to get some traction.

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Goats and Soda
3:06 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Tribute: The Man Who Linked Climate Change To Global Health

Tony McMichael has written more than 300 papers on how erratic weather and climate can cause health problems. He died in September.
James Giggacher Courtesy of Australian National University

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 9:32 am

When I asked climate change expert Tony McMichael back in March how he thought the world would deal with climate change, he said, "It's likely to be an extraordinary century and we're going to have to have our wits about us to get through it."

But the legions of scientists he inspired will have to go on without him. McMichael died in September in his native Australia from complications of pneumonia, leaving behind the fledgling field he founded — determining the health effects of climate change.

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The Two-Way
9:32 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Plastic Bag Industry And Allies May Dispose Of California's Ban

A man carries plastic single-use bags past the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Starting in July 2015, California could become the first state to ban single-use plastic bags, unless a referendum delays the measure from taking effect.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:45 pm

Last October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that would ban single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores, and allow shops to sell customers environmentally-friendly bags for 10 cents. Senate Bill 270 was set to take effect in July 2015.

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Research News
5:03 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Same-Sex Couples May Have More Egalitarian Relationships

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 6:35 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Medical Treatments
4:13 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Doctors Not Cutting Back On Radiation For Breast Cancer Patients

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 6:35 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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Extras: TED Radio Hour
9:08 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Playlist: Stories That Will Spark Your Imagination

TED speakers share their stories about intense curiosity.
iStock

In this playlist, stories about the curious nature of spaghetti, the power of quiet minds, and a quest to build a toaster from scratch. These TED Radio Hour stories will make you curious and maybe even ignite some creative ideas of your own.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
3:36 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Teaching Friends And Family How To Reverse A Drug Overdose

Tina Wolf demonstrates the use of naloxone to community members in Lindenhurst, N.Y., during an overdose prevention training. Georgia Dolan-Reilly (left) of the Suffolk County Prevention Resource Center helped with the training.
Kevin Hagen for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

When Priscilla Graham-Farmer went to get her hair done in Newark, N.J., recently, she noticed the elevator in the building was broken, so she took the stairs. And that's when Graham-Farmer saw him: a young guy sprawled out, not breathing.

"He was literally turning blue," she says. "And everybody was walking over him."

But Graham-Farmer stopped. And looked closer. She saw that he had a needle and some cotton balls. The guy had clearly overdosed.

"I'm screaming in the hallway," Graham-Farmer remembers. "Nobody's answering."

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